Whether it's verbal or physical abuse, f eeling stuck in a relationship with an abusive partner is a nightmare. Thousands of women die each year from domestic violence, millions more are physically assaulted, and I would guess that a billion are verbally abused.
For several years I provided court ordered counseling to the perpetrators of domestic violence and for decades I have been providing counseling to victims of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse.
Why do people stay in an abusive relationship? Some haven’t admitted to themselves that they are in an abusive relationship. Others want to get out but don’t know how. Counseling can give you the strength to awaken from the abusive relationship and also give you the strength to leave the abusive relationship.
Examples of verbal abuse: you are not allowed to have money, your feelings are ignored, you rarely socialize, you and everything you value are ridiculed, even your religion, friends and family, you are cheated on, you are called names and insulted, affection or approval is withheld as punishment, you are shouted at, you are continually criticized, you are humiliated in public, there are threats to leave you and take the house and keep the children, is often jealous of affairs he imagined you had, refused to let you work, curses at you, when you try to voice your opinions you are told that you’re crazy, blames everything on you.
E veryone who has been married knows that this type of un-christian behavior occasionally happens, but it is the exception, not the context of the relationship. Comparing this to rain, in most marriages this behavior is like a drizzle, but in the abusive relationship it is like a typhoon. Comparing this to an illness, in most marriages this behavior is like having the sniffles, but in an abusive relationship it is like having the flu.
Examples of domestic violence: he threatens to hurt you, you are shoved, pushed, pressed against the wall or floor, he throws or kicks things at you, puts holes in the wall, abuses the pets to hurt you, waves a gun or knife while yelling, blocked or held you from leaving a room, kicked or punched you, angrily drives recklessly with you and your children in car, locked you out of your house, abandons you on the side of the road in a remote place. All this happens while he is screaming in your face.
The Abuse Cycle - The cycle not only repeats itself but often re-cycles faster and faster, each time becoming more severe.
Stage #1 - The abuse event.
Stage #2 - He apologizes swearing that it will never happen again. After the abuse there are gifts, and apologies. This is the honeymoon phase, the calm after the storm. It amazes me, but sometimes the apology includes comments like “It was something you did that caused my rage.” There is never an excuse for physical abuse.
Stage #3 - Tension building, with you acting in ways not to provoke him. You feel like you are walking on egg shells until -BAM- the next and usually worse abuse event.
Over and over, over and over.
Victims of domestic violence sometimes can’t rely on friends and family. You may need professional help. A counselor can help you develop a safety plan or an exit plan, as well as provide much emotional support and professional guidance. If friends, family, and counseling aren’t for you, at least call a woman’s shelter.
Go to the Domestic Violence section on my links page. At least call them.